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Title: Implementing Integrated Project-Based Learning Outcomes in a 21st-Century Environmental Engineering Curriculum
Engineering education research and accreditation criteria have for some time emphasized that to adequately prepare engineers to meet 21st century challenges, programs need to move toward an approach that integrates professional knowledge, skills, and real-world experiences throughout the curriculum [1], [2], [3]. An integrated approach allows students to draw connections between different disciplinary content, develop professional skills through practice, and relate their emerging engineering competencies to the problems and communities they care about [4], [5]. Despite the known benefits, the challenges to implementing such major programmatic changes are myriad, including faculty’s limited expertise outside their own disciplinary area of specialization and lack of perspective of professional learning outcomes across the curriculum. In 2020, Montana State University initiated a five-year NSF-funded Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) project to transform its environmental engineering program by replacing traditional topic-focused courses with a newly developed integrated and project-based curriculum (IPBC). The project engages all tenure-track faculty in the environmental engineering program as well as faculty from five external departments in a collaborative, iterative process to define what students should be expected to know and do at the completion of the undergraduate program. In the process, sustainability, professionalism, and systems thinking arose as foundational pillars of the successful environmental engineer and are proposed as three knowledge threads that can be woven throughout environmental engineering curricula. The paper explores the two-year programmatic redesign process and examines how lessons learned through the process can be applied to course development as the team transitions into the implementation phase of the project. Two new integrated project-based learning courses targeting the 1st- and 2nd-year levels will be taught in academic year 2023-2024. The approach described in this work can be utilized by similar programs as a model for bottom-up curriculum development and integration of non-technical content, which will be necessary for educating engineers of the future.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2021608
NSF-PAR ID:
10476535
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition; https://peer.asee.org/43547
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2023 ASEE annual conference exposition
Format(s):
Medium: X
Location:
Baltimore, Maryland
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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